Every year, during the latter part of September, an equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator (which is the imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s Equator in the direction from north to south). This annual event takes place on September 22, 23, or 24.
The equinox brings exceptionally high tides with it, as the coastal towns of Mossel Bay and East London recorded yesterday. Pictures posted on Storm Report SA showed tides two stories high crashing before the shore.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) also issued a full moon spring tide safety alert for the rest of the this week and has urged the public to be extra cautious around the coastline from today (Monday) until after the coming weekend (27 and 28 September). The warning was issued because the Full Moon Spring Tide which peaks on Tuesday, 25th September, has begun to increase in intensity as it builds towards the Spring Tide peak.
NSRI urged bathers, anglers, coastal hikers and beach strollers to be take extra precaution and heed the safety alert to avoid being caught in the tide.
The Spring Tide phenomena occurs around each new moon and full moon, when the sun, Earth, and moon arrange themselves in one line in space. This causes the pull on the tides to increase because the gravity of the sun reinforces the moon’s gravity.
“Bathers should only go to beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim within the safe demarcated swimming zones that lifeguards post using their red and yellow flags,” said NSRI.
They also warned parents to ensure their children had responsible adult supervision around inland and coastal waters.